Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Senate not investigating management over N62 billion fraud: NSITF

Senate is not investigating the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF)’s new management over the N62 billion fraud scandal that rocked the organisation.

• June 18, 2021

The Senate is not investigating the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF)’s new management over the N62 billion fraud scandal that rocked the organisation, a spokeswoman for NSITF says.

The NSITF is not under probe by the Public Accounts Committee of the Senate.

Alexandra Mede, NSITF’s Deputy General Manager, Corporate Affairs, disclosed in a statement that the clarification was necessary to correct uninformed views in the media.

According to her, the Senate committee is investigating the “cumulative actions and inaction, financial malfeasance, and infractions” of two previous management teams of the agency between 2013 and 2020.

”This is over which the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation had earlier raised audit alarm. This is purely in exercise of the statutory oversight function of the National Assembly.

“The new management of the NSITF, which came into office on June 1, 2020, has, of course, submitted itself and all documents requested by the Senate to assist in this oversight, knowing full well that government is a continuum,” stated Ms Mede.

“However,” she added, “We wish to note that these financial infractions and malfeasance have also appropriately and variously been dealt with by the EFCC and the supervising Ministry of Labour and Employment.

”In 2015, for instance, the EFCC arraigned the former chairman of the board of the NSITF, Ngozi Olejeme, alongside five other senior officials, including the managing director and three directors. The EFCC later made public it recovered 48 property worth billions of naira from Olejeme. The matter is still in court even with the forfeiture secured by the EFCC.”

Ms Mede further explained that the ministry had set up an administrative panel of inquiry on February 15, 2017, to probe the fund.

“Similarly, the Bayo Somefun executive management team, who took over the fund’s leadership in 2017, made infractions on the extant financial regulations and Procurement Act, and other acts of gross misconduct and was subsequently suspended,” she added.

Ms Mede revealed that a Presidential Joint Board and Audit Investigation Panel was set up to investigate the suspended officers comprising three executive directors, Jasper Azutalam, Kemi Nelson, and Tijani Sulaiman, and nine other senior management members.

“The joint board concluded its assignment, recommending their removal from office and the refund of the sum of N181 million. The president approved their removal from office and replacement by a new management,” she said.

(NAN)

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